Just in time for Valentine’s day I thought I would do a quick post on that elusive emotion that inspires musicians, poets and story tellers alike.
I found the following while scrolling the newsfeed on Facebook.
Er. Really? I think we can do better than that. I was sitting beside a perfect stranger in the tanning salon just the other day, doing nothing, perfectly happy. While I was definitely experiencing a sort of warm anticipatory glow, I’m sure it had more to do with the fact that I was about to get a tan, than true love. I know, I know. Tanning is bad for you and it has been proven that the cumulative damage caused by UV radiation can lead to premature skin aging as well as skin cancer. *sigh* I know. I don’t go very often, but I’ve never been able to stop going altogether. The problem isn’t vanity, not really, although it does get very tiring to hear people say, “but I thought you were Italian, why are you so pale.”
There is a Northern Italy you know, it gets snow and everything.
Even though my dark hair and pale skin sometimes prompts people to ask, “Wow, are you feeling ok?” (which is always a confidence booster) egotism alone is not why I find myself skulking off to the tanning salon.
It’s the quiet.
A room that smells of coconut oil, with a heated bed, where I can lie down in peace for 15 minutes, guarded by a tanning attendant to ensure no one barges in asking if I know where their (insert missing item here) is. Sign me up!
I’ve tried creating a safer oasis environment. I have. I’ve bought candles and scented bubble bath and downloaded calming music in an attempt to turn my ensuite into my own private piece of paradise, but something always gets in the way. Sometimes my bathroom serves as a half way home. As an animal foster parent how on earth could I put my needs before the comfort and safety of a mother cat and her nursing babies? It usually only takes a month to find them loving homes and besides, serenity is dish best served cold. Actually… I might have got that phrase wrong.
Then again, be it coffee, or a three course dinner, busy mothers know by the time you finally get a chance to sit down, you’ve missed the window of opportunity for hot food, so at least it’s realistic.
When adoption day arrives, I spend the next afternoon disinfecting and polishing from top to bottom (kitten offspring, like human offspring, are capable of tearing a room apart) but I clean away unresentfully because I know that my moment is close at hand. I run to fetch the USB key of calming music only to find that it has been replaced with Neuro Funk by my teen daughter who collects music like magpies collect shiny things. 170 beats per minute might be helpful if I was looking for inspiration to outrun a zombie apocolypse (not walking dead type zombie’s, the really fast World War Z variety) but not as useful in creating a spa like setting. Undefeated, I start running the water any way, only to discover my middle daughter has stolen my bubbles to use down the hall. Their bath has not spent the last month infested with kittens and the child whose life motto is “more is more” has used it all up. I’m nothing if not determined though, so I shake off the losses, content to just disappear in the warm water, but no sooner do I climb in, that the knocking starts.
My advice to any parent struggling with a sullen and withdrawn child, is to try to steal away just a few moments for yourself. EVERYBODY wants to talk then. They knock on the door to ask you what they should do for the talent show, they knock on the door to ask if they can borrow a sweater, they knock on the door asking if you’ve seen the television remote. When the youngest starts shoving the instructions for his latest lego construction under the door asking what step 4 means, I give up.
I’ve tried asking the tanning attendant if she wanted to come to my house to watch over me while I’m in the bath, but she gave me a strange look and, well, it’s a rather long story don’t you think? I don’t want to have to find myself a new tanning salon because they’ve put my face on a sign saying, “don’t let the crazy lady in” so I didn’t push it and let her think I was hitting on her. It actually worked in my favour, because now she always slips me sample tanning creams; to make up for the rejection I think.
The point is, love is more than just sitting beside someone doing nothing. Some might say love is when you want to do nothing, but instead you help create a talent show act, you lend a sweater, you locate the television remote and then help with a very tricky step 4. Love is making sure everyone else has what they need before you do, even if it means your food is always cold. Love is sacrifice, except it isn’t, because when you love someone, their happiness becomes your happiness. This sounds cheesy but it’s true. But it’s also protecting them from things like harmful UV rays, so I’ll just keep my tanning time to myself, thank you very much.
So ask not what your Valentine can do for you, but what you can do for your Valentine. Go forth into the world and put a little more love into it than was there before. Valentines day doesn’t have to be just for couples. It can be for kids, for cats or even tanning attendants. Anyone who has made your day a little sweeter. Maybe this year I’ll pass out tanning minutes to all the teachers who are responsible for not just my little craTpots but a whole class of them. While I’m at the salon, I might just surprise my tanning attendant with a valentine.
Happy Valentines Day to you All
The lover is a monotheist who knows that other people worship different gods but cannot himself imagine that there could be other gods. ~Theodor Reik, Of Love and Lust, 1957